Chalcolithic

Last updated
Chalcolithic
Eneolithic, Aeneolithic,
or Copper Age
Stone Age
Neolithic

Africa

Naqada culture, Gerzeh culture, A-Group culture, C-Group culture, Kerma culture

West Asia

Ghassulian culture, Uruk period

Europe

Vinca culture, Varna culture
Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
Yamna culture, Corded Ware
Cernavodă culture, Decea Mureşului culture, Gorneşti culture, Gumelniţa–Karanovo culture, Petreşti culture, Coțofeni culture
Remedello culture, Gaudo culture, Monte Claro culture

Central Asia

Yamna culture, Botai culture, BMAC culture, Afanasevo culture

South Asia

Periodisation of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Bhirrana culture, Hakra Ware culture, Kaytha culture, Ahar–Banas culture
Savalda Culture, Malwa culture, Jorwe culture, Anarta tradition

China

Mesoamerica
Metallurgy, Wheel,
Domestication of the horse
Bronze Age
Iron Age

The Chalcolithic (English: /ˌkælkəˈlɪθɪk/ ), [1] a name derived from the Greek : χαλκόςkhalkós, "copper" and from λίθοςlíthos, "stone" [1] or Copper Age, [1] also known as the Eneolithic [1] or Aeneolithic [2] (from Latin aeneus "of copper") is an archaeological period which researchers usually regard as part of the broader Neolithic (although scholars originally defined it as a transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age). In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives.

Contents

In the Chalcolithic period, copper predominated in metalworking technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that by adding tin to copper one could create bronze, a metal alloy harder and stronger than either component.

The archaeological site of Belovode, on Rudnik mountain in Serbia, has the worldwide oldest securely-dated evidence of copper smelting at high temperature, from c. 5000 BC (7000 BP ). [3] [4] The transition from Copper Age to Bronze Age in Europe occurs between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BC. In the Ancient Near East the Copper Age covered about the same period, beginning in the late 5th millennium BC and lasting for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age.

Terminology

The multiple names result from multiple recognitions of the period. Originally, the term Bronze Age meant that either copper or bronze was being used as the chief hard substance for the manufacture of tools and weapons. Ancient writers, who provided the essential cultural references for educated people during the 19th century, used the same names for both. [5]

In 1881, John Evans recognized that use of copper often preceded the use of bronze, and distinguished between a transitional Copper Age and the Bronze Age proper. He did not include the transitional period in the three-age system of Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age, but placed it outside the tripartite system, at its beginning. He did not, however, present it as a fourth age but chose to retain the traditional tripartite system. [5]

In 1884, Gaetano Chierici, perhaps following the lead of Evans, renamed it in Italian as the eneo-litica, or "bronze–stone" transition. The phrase was never intended to mean that the period was the only one in which both bronze and stone were used. The Copper Age features the use of copper, excluding bronze; moreover, stone continued to be used throughout both the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The part -litica simply names the Stone Age as the point from which the transition began and is not another -lithic age. [5]

Subsequently, British scholars used either Evans's "Copper Age" or the term "Eneolithic" (or Æneolithic), a translation of Chierici's eneo-litica. After several years, a number of complaints appeared in the literature that "Eneolithic" seemed to the untrained eye to be produced from e-neolithic, "outside the Neolithic", clearly not a definitive characterization of the Copper Age. Around 1900, many writers began to substitute Chalcolithic for Eneolithic, to avoid the false segmentation. It was then that the misunderstanding began among those who did not know Italian. The Chalcolithic was seen as a new -lithic age, a part of the Stone Age in which copper was used, which may appear paradoxical. Today, Copper Age, Eneolithic and Chalcolithic are used synonymously to mean Evans's original definition of Copper Age.[ citation needed ] The literature of European archaeology in general avoids the use of "Chalcolithic" (the term "Copper Age" is preferred), whereas Middle Eastern archaeologists regularly use it. "Chalcolithic" is not generally used by British prehistorians, who disagree as to whether it applies in the British context. [6]

Near East

Chalcolithic copper mine in Timna Valley, Negev Desert, Israel TimnaChalcolithicMine.JPG
Chalcolithic copper mine in Timna Valley, Negev Desert, Israel

The emergence of metallurgy may have occurred first in the Fertile Crescent. The earliest use of lead is documented here from the late Neolithic settlement of Yarim Tepe in Iraq,

"The earliest lead (Pb) finds in the ancient Near East are a 6th millennium BC bangle from Yarim Tepe in northern Iraq and a slightly later conical lead piece from Halaf period Arpachiyah, near Mosul. [7] As native lead is extremely rare, such artifacts raise the possibility that lead smelting may have begun even before copper smelting." [8] [9]

Copper smelting is also documented at this site at about the same time period (soon after 6000 BC), although the use of lead seems to precede copper smelting. Early metallurgy is also documented at the nearby site of Tell Maghzaliyah, which seems to be dated even earlier, and completely lacks pottery.

The Timna Valley contains evidence of copper mining in 7000–5000 BC. The process of transition from Neolithic to Chalcolithic in the Middle East is characterized in archaeological stone tool assemblages by a decline in high quality raw material procurement and use. This dramatic shift is seen throughout the region, including the Tehran Plain, Iran. Here, analysis of six archaeological sites determined a marked downward trend in not only material quality, but also in aesthetic variation in the lithic artefacts. Fazeli et al. use these results as evidence of the loss of craft specialisation caused by increased use of copper tools. [10] The Tehran Plain findings illustrate the effects of the introduction of copper working technologies on the in-place systems of lithic craft specialists and raw materials. Networks of exchange and specialized processing and production that had evolved during the Neolithic seem to have collapsed by the Middle Chalcolithic (c. 4500–3500 BC) and been replaced by the use of local materials by a primarily household-based production of stone tools. [10]

Europe

An archaeological site in Serbia contains the oldest securely dated evidence of coppermaking from 7,500 years ago. The find in June 2010 extends the known record of copper smelting by about 800 years, and suggests that copper smelting may have been invented in separate parts of Asia and Europe at that time rather than spreading from a single source. [4]

In Serbia, a copper axe was found at Prokuplje, which indicates use of metal in Europe by 7,500 years ago (5500 BC), many years earlier than previously believed. [11] Knowledge of the use of copper was far more widespread than the metal itself. The European Battle Axe culture used stone axes modeled on copper axes, even with moulding carved in the stone. [12] Ötzi the Iceman, who was found in the Ötztal Alps in 1991 and whose remains were dated to about 3300 BC, was found with a Mondsee copper axe.

Painting of a Copper Age walled settlement, Los Millares, Spain Los Millares recreacion cuadro.jpg
Painting of a Copper Age walled settlement, Los Millares, Spain

Examples of Chalcolithic cultures in Europe include Vila Nova de São Pedro and Los Millares on the Iberian Peninsula. [13] Pottery of the Beaker people has been found at both sites, dating to several centuries after copper-working began there. The Beaker culture appears to have spread copper and bronze technologies in Europe, along with Indo-European languages. [14] In Britain, copper was used between the 25th and 22nd centuries BC, but some archaeologists do not recognise a British Chalcolithic because production and use was on a small scale. [15]

South Asia

According to Parpola (2005), [16] ceramic similarities between the Indus Civilization, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Iran during 4300–3300 BC of the Chalcolithic period suggest considerable mobility and trade. The term "Chalcolithic" has also been used in the context of the South Asian Stone Age. [17] In Bhirrana, the earliest Indus civilization site, copper bangles and arrowheads were found. The inhabitants of Mehrgarh in present-day Pakistan fashioned tools with local copper ore between 7000–3300 BC. [18] At the Nausharo site dated to 4500 years ago, a pottery workshop in province of Balochistan, Pakistan, were unearthed 12 blades or blade fragments. These blades are 12–18 cm (5–7 in) long and 1.2–2.0 cm (0.5–0.8 in) and relatively thin. Archaeological experiments show that these blades were made with a copper indenter and functioned as a potter's tool to trim and shape unfired pottery. Petrographic analysis indicates local pottery manufacturing, but also reveals the existence of a few exotic black-slipped pottery items from the Indus Valley. [19]

Pre-Columbian Americas

There was an independent invention of copper and bronze smelting first by Andean civilizations in South America extended later by sea commerce to the Mesoamerican civilization in West Mexico (see Metallurgy in pre-Columbian America and Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica).

The term "Chalcolithic" is also applied to American civilizations that already used copper and copper alloys thousands of years before the European migration. Besides cultures in the Andes and Mesoamerica, the Old Copper Complex, centered in the Upper Great Lakes region—present-day Michigan and Wisconsin in the United States—mined and fabricated copper as tools, weapons, and personal ornaments. [20] The evidence of smelting or alloying that has been found is subject to some dispute and a common assumption by archaeologists is that objects were cold-worked into shape. Artifacts from some of these sites have been dated to 4000–1000 BC, making them some of the oldest Chalcolithic sites in the world. [21] Furthermore, some archaeologists find artifactual and structural evidence of casting by Hopewellian and Mississippian peoples to be demonstrated in the archaeological record. [22]

East Asia

In the 5th millennium BC copper artifacts start to appear in East Asia, such as in the Jiangzhai and Hongshan cultures, but those metal artifacts were not widely used. [23] While copper objects may occasionally appear early on, these finds do not represent a regular practice of copper metallurgy which, in East Asia, begins with the entry of Afanasievo groups into western Mongolia towards the end of 4th millennium and beginning of the third millennium BC. [24]

Sub-Saharan Africa

In the region of the Aïr Mountains in Niger, we have the development of independent copper smelting between 3000 and 2500 BC. The process was not in a developed state, indicating smelting was not foreign. It became mature about 1500 BC. [25]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN   0-19-861263-X, p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjectiveArchaeology of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, during which some weapons and tools were made of copper. This period was still largely Neolithic in character. Also called Eneolithic... Also called Copper Age - Origin early 20th cent.: from Greek khalkos 'copper' + lithos 'stone' + -ic".
  2. Aeneolothic was once fairly often spelled Æneolithic, but the habit of using a ligature in ae and oe words of Greek and Latin derivation (fœtid, etc.) largely died out by the mid-20th century.
  3. "Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers". UCL.ac.uk. UCL Institute of Archaeology. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  4. 1 2 Bruce Bower (July 17, 2010). "Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers". ScienceNews. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Pearce, Mark (2019-09-01). "The 'Copper Age'—A History of the Concept". Journal of World Prehistory. 32 (3): 229–250. doi: 10.1007/s10963-019-09134-z . ISSN   1573-7802.
  6. Allen, Michael J.; et al., eds. (2012). Is There a British Chalcolithic?: People, Place and Polity in the later Third Millennium (summary). Oxbow. ISBN   9781842174968. Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  7. Moorey 1994: 294
  8. Craddock 1995: 125
  9. Potts, Daniel T., ed. (2012-08-15). "Northern Mesopotamia". A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. 1. John Wiley & Sons, 2012. p. 302. ISBN   978-1-4443-6077-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  10. 1 2 Fazeli, H.; Donahue, R.E.; Coningham, R.A.E. (2002). "Stone Tool Production, Distribution and Use during the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic on the Tehran Plain, Iran". Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies . 40: 1–14. doi:10.2307/4300616. JSTOR   4300616.
  11. http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/india-news/ancient-axe-find-suggests-copper-age-began-earlier-than-believed_100105122.html
  12. J. Evans, 1897
  13. C.M.Hogan, 2007
  14. D.W.Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world (2007).
  15. Miles, The Tale of the Axe, pp. 363, 423, n. 15
  16. A.Parpola, 2005
  17. Vasant Shinde and Shweta Sinha Deshpande, "Crafts and Technologies of the Chalcolithic People of South Asia: An Overview" Indian Journal of History of Science, 50.1 (2015) 42-54
  18. Possehl, Gregory L. (1996)
  19. Méry, S; Anderson, P; Inizan, M.L.; Lechavallier, M; Pelegrin, J (2007). "A pottery workshop with flint tools on blades knapper with copper at Nausharo (Indus civilisation ca. 2500 BC)". Journal of Archaeological Science. 34 (7): 1098–1116. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2006.10.002.
  20. R. A. Birmingham and L. E. Eisenberg. Indian Mounds of Wisconsin. (Madison, Univ Wisconsin Press. 2000.) pp.75-77.
  21. T.C.Pleger, 2000
  22. Neiburger, E. J. 1987. Did Midwest Pre-Columbia Indians Cast Metal? A New Look. Central States Archaeological Journal 34(2), 60-74.
  23. Peterson, Christian E.; Shelach, Gideon (September 2012). "Jiangzhai: Social and economic organization of a Middle Neolithic Chinese village". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology . 31 (3): 241–422. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2012.01.007.
  24. Rogers, Leland; Honeychurch, William; Amartuvshin, Chunag; Kaestle, Frederika (March 2020). "U5a1 Mitochondrial DNA Haplotype Identified in Eneolithic Skeleton from Shatar Chuluu, Mongolia". Human Biology .
  25. Ehret, Christopher (2002). The Civilizations of Africa. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, pp. 136, 137 ISBN   0-8139-2085-X.

Related Research Articles

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World.

Mesolithic Prehistoric period, second part of the Stone Age

The Mesolithic is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000 BP; in Southwest Asia roughly 20,000 to 8,000 BP. The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.

Mehrgarh Ancient archaeological site in Balochistan, Pakistan

Mehrgarh is a Neolithic site, which lies on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan. Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the present-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi. The site was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French archaeologists Jean-François Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige, and was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986, and again from 1997 to 2000. Archaeological material has been found in six mounds, and about 32,000 artifacts have been collected. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh—in the northeast corner of the 495-acre (2.00 km2) site—was a small farming village dated between 7000 BCE and 5500 BCE.

Neolithic Archaeological period, last part of the Stone Age

The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The Neolithic division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In other places the Neolithic lasted longer. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.

3rd millennium BC years from 3000 BC to 2001 BC

The 3rd millennium BC spanned the years 3000 through 2001 BC. This period of time corresponds to the Early to Middle Bronze Age, characterized by the early empires in the Ancient Near East. In Ancient Egypt, the Early Dynastic Period is followed by the Old Kingdom. In Mesopotamia, the Early Dynastic Period is followed by the Akkadian Empire.

During the 40th century BC, the Eastern Mediterranean region was in the Chalcolithic period, transitional between the Stone and the Bronze Ages. Northwestern Europe was in the Neolithic. China was dominated by the Neolithic Yangshao culture. The Americas were in a phase of transition between the Paleo-Indian (Lithic) to the Meso-Indian (Archaic) stage. This century started in 4000 BC and ended in 3901 BC.

Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex Archaeological culture

The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex, also known as the Oxus civilization, is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age civilization of Central Asia, dated to c. 2400–1900 BC in its urban phase or Integration Era, located in present-day northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya in Bactria, and at Murghab river delta in Margiana. Its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976). Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bactra, in what is now northern Afghanistan, and Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Marguš, the capital of which was Merv, in modern-day southeastern Turkmenistan.

Los Millares Chalcolithic occupation site in Spain

Los Millares is a Chalcolithic occupation site 17 km north of Almería, in the municipality of Santa Fe de Mondújar, Andalucía, Spain. The complex was in use from the end of the fourth millennium to the end of the second millennium BC and probably supported somewhere around 1000 people. It was discovered in 1891 during the construction of a railway. It was first excavated by Luis Siret in the succeeding years. Excavations are ongoing.

Prehistoric Europe period of history

Prehistoric Europe is the designation for the period of human presence in Europe before the start of recorded history, beginning in the Lower Paleolithic. As history progresses, considerable regional irregularities of cultural development emerge and increase. The region of the eastern Mediterranean is, due to its geographic proximity, greatly influenced and inspired by the classical Middle Eastern civilizations, and adopts and develops the earliest systems of communal organization and writing. The Histories of Herodotus is the oldest known European text that seeks to systematically record traditions, public affairs and notable events. In contrast, the European regions furthest away from the ancient centers of civilization tended to be the slowest, regarding acculturation. In Northern and Eastern Europe in particular, writing and systematic recording was only introduced in the context of Christianization, after 1000 A.D.

Chalcolithic Europe, the Chalcolithic period of Prehistoric Europe, lasted roughly from 3500 to 1700 BC.

Kültəpə Municipality in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

Kültəpə is a settlement dated from the Neolithic Age, a village and municipality in the Babek Rayon of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. It has a population of 1,859.

Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very early among humans, but the earliest known writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago and it took thousands of years for writing systems to be widely adopted. In some human cultures, writing systems were not used until the nineteenth century and, in a few, not even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.

Metallurgy during the Copper Age in Europe

The Copper Age, also called the Eneolithic or the Chalcolithic Age, has been traditionally understood as a transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, in which a gradual introduction of the metal took place, while stone was still the main resource utilized. Recent archaeology has found that the metal was not introduced so gradually and that this entailed significant social changes, such as developments in the type of habitation, long-distance trade, and copper metallurgy.

Boian culture

The Boian culture, also known as the Giuleşti–Mariţa culture or Mariţa culture, is a Neolithic archaeological culture of Southeast Europe. It is primarily found along the lower course of the Danube in what is now Romania and Bulgaria, and thus may be considered a Danubian culture.

Prehistory of Transylvania Early Transylvania

The Prehistory of Transylvania describes what can be learned about the region known as Transylvania through archaeology, anthropology, comparative linguistics and other allied sciences.

South Turkmenistan Complex Archaeological Expedition Archaeological expedition

South Turkmenistan Complex Archaeological Expedition (STACE), also South Turkmenistan Archaeological Inter-disciplinary Expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (YuTAKE) was endorsed by the Turkmenistan Academy of Sciences. It was initially organized by the orientalist, Mikhail Evgenievich Masson in 1946. The expedition had several excavations or "Brigades", based on sites and periods, and were spread over many years.

Copper Age state societies Wikimedia list article

The Chalcolithic or Copper Age is the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. It is taken to begin around the mid-5th millennium BC, and ends with the beginning of the Bronze Age proper, in the late 4th to 3rd millennium BC, depending on the region.

The Beersheba culture is a Late Chalcolithic archaeological culture of the late 5th millennium BC, that was discovered in several sites near Beersheba, in the Beersheba Valley, in the northern Negev, in the 1950s. It is considered to be a phase of the Ghassulian culture. Its main sites are Bir Abu Matar, Bir Tzafad and Bir Safadi, but additional sites belonging to this cultural phase have been discovered in other parts of southern Israel.

Stone Age in Azerbaijan is divided into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods. The Stone Age in Azerbaijan was studied in Karabakh, Gazakh, Lerik, Gobustan, and Nakhchivan. Stone materials belonging to the Stone Age were found by Mammadali Huseynov in the Shorsu gorge located near the village of Gyrag Kasaman in Qazakh region. According to his research, people have first settled in the territory of Azerbaijan 2 million years ago. The Stone Age era involved two different human species: Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.

References